Campus Ministry: a Ministry Beyond itself

The University Staff Outreach

 

            So often my outreach to students includes a connection to professors I’ve met in my journeys around campus.  So often I am emailed or called about a potential student who could use a connection that I have begun to wonder how we might consider going beyond a student community and into a university staff and faculty community as a part of the campus ministry. Today, we consider this possibility as we move campus ministry beyond itself further and engage the other population of the University campus.

 

I’ve gotten pretty used to thinking about campus ministry as being about students.  That’s all we are ever asked about when it comes to metrics.  “How many student do you have coming to your worship/ community/ have you baptized/ made into (insert denomination).  Ok.  The student ministry is a big part of what we are doing, I mean we do speak a lot about the transformation of the 18-22 year old, but working with faculty and staff provides a real opportunity to dig deeper into the life of campus as well as help other people experience the potential the church has in an academic setting.

 

Here at the University of Minnesota, we are toying with the possibility of launching a mid-week service for staff, faculty, and community members to come and sit around and worship and eat together.  We’ve got a long way to go, but I think there is potential.  Sometimes I believe the past can come back in the future, and we’ve not had a chapel service on this campus in over 30 years.  Perhaps this idea won’t come together, but perhaps it will.

 

I’ve constantly been wondering as well how we might consider small group book discussion and service opportunities for staff and faculty.  The focus might be upon how they as faculty see their roles as being facilitators of helping students come to understand the church but also as a way for them to deepen from within their professional settings.  I’m not sure how this would work but I would love feedback on how to make this happen.

 

Faculty and staff also provide a rather significant institutional and historical presence at the U.  Unlike the fast-flowing pace of college students, to get faculty and staff involved with the campus ministry and provide them a place to be fed would be an ongoing ministry that could last for years.  Their involvement might  influence students ten years down the road after they had themselves found a place to be. Certainly we wouldn’t have to worry about them leaving 4-5 years down the road most of the time.

 

So my question for all of you again today is how we might expand the ministry of campus further.  How might we be beyond ourselves in the 21st century.  Perhaps one way is to simply begin seeing our campus and witnessing that there are more than college students living and working on it but also the thousands of staff and faculty.  Let me know your thoughts.  And please provide insight.

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